Left hemisphere enhancement of auditory activation in language impaired children

Sam van Bijnen*, Salme Kärkkäinen, Päivi Helenius, Tiina Parviainen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Specific language impairment (SLI) is a developmental disorder linked to deficient auditory processing. In this magnetoencephalography (MEG) study we investigated a specific prolonged auditory response (N250m) that has been reported predominantly in children and is associated with level of language skills. We recorded auditory responses evoked by sine-wave tones presented alternately to the right and left ear of 9–10-year-old children with SLI (n = 10) and children with typical language development (n = 10). Source analysis was used to isolate the N250m response in the left and right hemisphere. In children with language impairment left-hemisphere N250m responses were enhanced compared to those of controls, while no group difference was found in the right hemisphere. Consequently, language impaired children lacked the typical right-ward asymmetry that was found in control children. Furthermore, left but not right hemisphere N250m responses correlated positively with performance on a phonological processing task in the SLI group exclusively, possibly signifying a compensatory mechanism for delayed maturation of language processing. These results suggest that enhanced left-hemisphere auditory activation reflects a core neurophysiological manifestation of developmental language disorders, and emphasize the relevance of this developmentally specific activation pattern for competent language development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9087
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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    van Bijnen, S., Kärkkäinen, S., Helenius, P., & Parviainen, T. (2019). Left hemisphere enhancement of auditory activation in language impaired children. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-11. [9087]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45597-y